Press Release: QueensWay Awarded $443,750 Regional Economic Development Council Grant

December 19th, 2014

By the Trust for Public Land – New York – 12/12/2014

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Friends of the QueensWay today joined local elected officials and economic development leaders in touting the $443,750 award the QueensWay project received through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York City Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). The project planners thanked Governor Cuomo and the State for their commitment to the QueensWay as a transformative park and local economic development project.

The funds will be allocated towards the design of the first phase of the QueensWay. This is the project’s second award through the New York City REDC. The first helped fund the QueensWay feasibility planning study, which was formally released this Fall.

“This vital grant brings us one step closer to making the QueensWay a reality,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “I thank Governor Cuomo and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council for their steadfast commitment to building a unique park in our borough that will not only provide great health and environmental benefits to the surrounding communities but also the potential to spur significant economic growth in the area.”

“The Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council grants are a significant effort that understands the impact locally developed projects have on economic development,” said Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi. “The QueensWay is one of those projects and I’m glad to support the great effort of the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay to bring this transformative project to our community.”

The funding will be used to design the “Northern Gateway” section of the QueensWay in the Rego Park neighborhood, adjacent to Forest Hills. This site, at the north end of the QueensWay, is an ideal way to begin to connect the residents to a portion of this 47-acre corridor. The section will retain and feature a large number of mature trees, and will include a nature-themed adventure playground, large bioretention basins and other green infrastructure that can absorb large quantities of stormwater, and access paths to adjacent streets. 

Project planners noted the QueensWay plan has been endorsed by over a dozen leading economic development, environmental and transportation organizations, many local community organizations and five elected officials including Reps. Joseph Crowley and Grace Meng, both of whom are from Queens; New York state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky of Queens; New York Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi of Queens; and New York City Council Member Karen Koslowitz of Queens.

“We’d like to thank the Governor and the New York City REDC for acknowledging, yet again, the tremendous value in building the QueensWay,” said Marc Matsil, New York Director of The Trust for Public Land. “They, like the thousands of local supporters and elected officials, recognize it will boost local businesses, provide safe access to recreation; will provide alternative transportation choices; and will help fill a significant park equity void. We look forward to continuing our work with the State, our local elected officials, and all of our supporters in building the QueensWay.”

“We are truly grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Council for their continued support of the QueensWay,” said Travis Terry of the Friends of the QueensWay. “This grant represents an important step forward in our efforts to build New York’s next great park and enables us to continue working closely with government, the local community and all stakeholders to complete a project that unlocks the incredible economic potential of Central Queens and improves our neighborhoods.” 

“The Queens Chamber of Commerce is pleased to see the State once again recognize the opportunity our community has to create a vehicle that will increase economic impact. Our organizations would like to congratulate the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the QueensWay for this great accomplishment,” said Jack Friedman, Executive Director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to participating in the ongoing work of the project, and to making Queens an even more attractive borough for businesses and residents alike.”

TPL and Friends of the QueensWay also noted Queens’ recently named distinction as the best U.S. destination to visit next year by renowned travel and tour guidebooks Lonely Planet. The QueensWay project team is looking forward to the QueensWay being a part of the draw to New York City’s most diverse borough.

The QueensWay plan, a blueprint for the 3.5 mile-long linear park and cultural greenway, can be found at

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. 

The Friends of the QueensWay (FQW) is a grassroots community organization – consisting of Central and Southern Queens residents – who are advocating for the conversion of the long-abandoned, 3.5 mile, 47 acre LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch into a family-friendly public park that can be enjoyed by bikers, walkers, joggers, visitors, tourists, workers and residents in Queens. It is FQW’s intention to plan the reuse of this property in a way that not only creates an iconic park but also sparks economic and cultural development, improves the quality of life and environment, and provides greater access to all that Central Queens has to offer including a direct, fast and safe link to Forest Park.